You have the right to feel safe in your own home. If you don’t, you need to move somewhere else, which, if you rent, means breaking your lease. Some states have laws that allow you to break your lease for safety concerns. Depending on your lease, you may have the option of using a subletter for your rental or paying a fee to your landlord to end the lease early.
Read the landlord-tenant law in your state. These laws vary by state, and some states may allow you to terminate your lease if you have safety concerns. You can get a copy of the landlord-tenant law at a local court office. Many states also post these acts online through the state attorney general's website.
Read your lease carefully. Your lease provides details on how to end your lease agreement early. You will likely have to pay for some or all of the remaining rent due on the rental property. Your lease will also state if you can sublet your rental to someone else. Under a sublet agreement, you remain on the lease but allow another tenant to take your place and make the monthly rent.
Write a letter to your landlord explaining your situation. Explain your safety concerns honestly. Give your landlord a date on when you plan to move out of the property. Mail the letter by certified mail.
Locate a subletter for your rental, if allowed in your lease. Request that your landlord meet the subletter and agree to allow him to move into the rental, as this may prevent problems in the future.
Pay any fines or rent required by law if you live in a state that allows tenants to terminate a lease for safety reasons. Your state's landlord-tenant law will list the amount you owe to the landlord. Write the landlord a letter stating why you paid this amount and include a copy of the law.
Pay any fines or rent listed in the lease agreement if you cannot sublet your rental and do not have recourse under your state’s landlord-tenant law.
Schedule a time to meet with the landlord in person. Request that the landlord provide you with a written notice stating he terminated your lease and that you paid any due fees or rent.
Keep in contact with your landlord. Your landlord may work with you if you discuss your situation honestly and keep him informed.
Keep a copy of any correspondence or payments that you send. You may need this information if the landlord tries to sue you in a court.
- Bankrate; How to Break a Lease and Stay Creditworthy; Steve McLinden; February 2010
- MSN; Breaking Your Lease; Sally Anderson
- Rent Law: Breaking Your Lease on a Rented Unit
- Georgia Consumer Protection Division. "If I Terminate My Lease Early, Can My Landlord Keep My Security Deposit and Charge Me a Fee?" Accessed April 6, 2020.
- Oregon State Bar. "Fees and Deposits." Accessed April 6, 2020.
- Wisconsin State Legislature. "704.29 Recovery of Rent and Damages by Landlord; Mitigation." Accessed April 6, 2020.
- Realtor.com®. "Beyond the Security Deposit: When Can Your Landlord Sue You for Property Damage?" Accessed April 6, 2020.
- The Judicial Branch of California. "Security Deposits." Accessed April 6, 2020.
- Updater. "Breaking a Lease: Everything to Know." Accessed April 6, 2020.
- New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. "Lease Information Bulletin," Page 3. Accessed April 6, 2020.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Could Late Rent Payments or Problems With a Landlord Be in My Credit Report?" Accessed April 6, 2020.
- Experian. "Does Breaking a Lease Affect Your Credit?" Accessed April 6, 2020.
- Experian. "How Long Does It Take for Information to Come Off Your Credit Reports?" Accessed April 6, 2020.
- New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. "Lease Information Bulletin," Page 2. Accessed April 6, 2020.
- Michigan Department of Attorney General. "Other Legal Protections and Rights Provided By State And Federal Law." Accessed Apr. 23, 2020.
- Keep in contact with your landlord. Your landlord may work with you if you discuss your situation honestly and keep him informed.
- Keep a copy of any correspondence or payments that you send. You may need this information if the landlord tries to sue you in a court.
Amelia Jenkins has more than eight years of professional writing experience, covering financial, environmental and travel topics. Her work has appeared on MSN and various other websites and her articles have topped the best-of list for sites like Bankrate and Kipplinger. Jenkins studied English at Tarrant County College.